In the Fifty story, Ohio: The View from Above we learn about Blanche Noyes, the first woman to get her pilot’s license in Ohio.
The story picks up with Blanche after her participation in the world famous Women's Air Derby. She now flies a private Ford Trimotor airplane for Standard Oil of Ohio, spending most of her days—just a little bored—waiting for the rich and powerful to board her aircraft.
This day seems no different, until she learns who her passenger will be: none other than the richest man in the world, John D. Rockefeller. When the 90-year-old insists on taking his first and only flight in the cockpit, Blanche and Mr. Rockefeller have a chance to talk—and realize they have a lot in common.
As a born and bred Kansas girl, the age of the aviatrix has always captured my heart. One of my daughter's favorite bedtime stories is about the famous flight Amelia Earhart took over Washington D.C. with Eleanor Roosevelt, and even my son now smiles indulgently when I say, “She was a Kansas kid, just like you guys!”
Those first women who flew were so brave. Blanche Noyes plane actually caught on fire during the Women's Derby, and she didn't let it stop her. She got back in the race and “almost beat Amelia”, finishing in fourth place. She would go on to set a world record in the first race where women were allowed to compete with men. In 1936, she and her co-pilot, Louise Thaden, made the trip from New York to Los Angles in 14 hours and 55 minutes, winning the Bendix Trophy Race.
Can't you just picture the two of them as children? Blanche growing up in Ohio, Louise in Arkansas, making paper airplanes and studying hard and fantasizing about racing through the sky?
If that kind of imagining makes your heart soar, this week's craft project is just for you. Below, you'll find directions for three paper airplanes. None of them are terrifically complicated—each take only a few minutes to make—but they're guaranteed to get your little ones excited about flying.
You'll need scissors for one plane—and a simple butter knife will help make your folds sharper and more precise for all of them—but otherwise each of these planes can be made with nothing but a sheet of paper. They're perfect for summer evenings when the sky is blue and wide enough to dream big.
Three Paper Airplanes
Several sheets of 8.5 x 11 inch paper
The Basic Dart With a Twist
This is a basic paper airplane, with a surprise—it spins in a spiral as it flies through the air. To make it:
Fold the paper in half, vertically.
Unfold the paper, then fold the top corners down to the center line.
Fold the new outside corners to the center line.
Fold the plane in half, vertically.
Fold the wings down to meet the bottom edge of the body of the plane.
Fold the bottom edge of the wing up to that it meets the top of the body of the plane.
Fold a tiny triangle on each side of the tail of the plane. Fold one side so that it goes up, fold the other so that it goes down. When you're finished, the back of the plane should somewhat resemble a propeller.
It's a Bird, It's a Plane!
This plane is pretty to look at, and can do an impressive loop-de-loop. To make it:
Fold the paper in half diagonally.
Cut off the extra piece at the bottom so that you're left with a square piece of paper.
Without unfolding the paper, fold the closed edge over 1-2 inches.
Fold the plane in half.
Fold over one of the top edges. Repeat on the other side.
Fold down the wing horizontally, as shown. Repeat on the other side.
Blanche's Brave Glider
This plane is truly worthy of the age of the aviatrix. It's tough and it can fly really far. To make it:
Fold the paper in half vertically. Unfold.
Fold the paper in half horizontally. Unfold.
Fold the long right edge of the paper so that it meets the center line. The folded edge is now the top of your plane.
Fold the top left and right corners so that they meet the new center line.
Fold the top of the plane down to where the corners meet.
Fold the top edge of the plane down one more time.
Turn the plane over, and fold it in half.
Fold about half the wing down, then half back up again.
If you liked this tutorial, here are others you might enjoy:
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